We are delighted to have Annika Paradise join our Plaine Promoter community. She and her family are casting off from their life in Boulder, Colorado to travel around the world: Nepal, China, New Zealand, Thailand, Costa Rica and Italy. You can follow their adventures at Travels with Paradise. This blog entry was there posted there originally. As they travel Annika will be sharing her observations and experiences wth us.
Have Spork, Will Travel: 10 Ways to Minimize Environmental Impact While Traveling with Kids
Here are tangible ways for your kids to reduce their use of single use plastic and minimize environmental impact while traveling. Doing something to help the environment makes kids feel empowered. If you haven’t watched the movie Plastic Paradise with your kids, I highly recommend it. The visuals help kids understand that plastic doesn’t go away and that our oceans and fish are full of BPA.
- Carry your Sporks. Plastic utensils are everywhere and they are so unnecessary! These sporks are great for kids to keep in their backpacks. And for those unexpected times, I also bought a pack of emergency disposables to keep in my pack.
- Metal straw. Plastic straws are one of the biggest plastic trash offenders outside of the US. Everyone gives you a straw even for a glass of water. But the risk of germs from cups and bottles is real. Bring your own metal straw. And the kids will love to clean them out with the brush.
- Pack light and replenish locally. Before we leave the US, we tend to want to bring our creature comforts with us, but remember that discovering the local brands is another adventure. By reducing the weight of our bags, we use less fuel to move ourselves along.
- Pack your own toiletries. Don’t rely on those small disposable plastic throwaways. The greenest option is to bring your travel-sized Plaine Products. You could also fill your own reusables containers.
- Laundry line for the hotel. If you pack light, you need to wash often. When I traveled with Thai friends, they would wash out their clothes each night with just few drops of soap in the bathroom, hang them to dry overnight and never need to use laundry services.
- Direct Flights. So much of the flight’s use of fuel is going up and down. You distinctly save fuel by finding the most direct flight possible. Of course those multi-stops can be cheaper, but “direct” also means less tired children.
- Forego daily maid service. We usually put a do not disturb sign on our hotel room door each day as a way to cut down on the laundry / water usage required for our stay. Inevitably we run out of towels, but you can just ask for some fresh towels to be brought up.
- Solar chargers. The reality is that as much as we want to unplug, we still use lots of gadgets and cameras. There are lots of solar chargers / battery power packs on the market these days. We like this one by Sol Pro because it’s not much larger than my iPhone 7 Plus and you can always charge it from the wall to use like a simple power bank if the sun isn’t shining or if you simply need more juice now. Will attaches this Anker one to his backpack when we’re trekking – it’s about the size of a blood pressure cuff and holds a larger charge than the Sol Pro. When you’re traveling, you’re simply in the sun more than at home. Super fun for kids.
- Use public transportation. Most countries outside the US can show us a thing or two about using public transportation. It will show your kids what we can aspire to back home and it’s a great way to interact with locals, learn how to read a map and navigate through a city.
- Sit down and eat at a restaurant. Again, as a way to reduce our use of plastics, don’t buy food to take back to the room. There is so much more use of Styrofoam out of the US. Sitting down to eat with others is always a better way to interact with the locals.